, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 160-164
Date: 07 Feb 2004

A study of quality of life in primigravidae with urinary incontinence

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Abstract

This study aimed to establish the prevalence and effect of urinary incontinence on quality of life during pregnancy and after parturition. A prospective cohort of primigravidae was recruited. The Kings Health Questionnaire (KHQ) was self-administered antenatally (34 weeks to term) and postnatally (3 months after delivery). Four hundred ninety-two primigravidae were recruited. The prevalence of urinary incontinence was reported as: pre-pregnancy 3.5% (17/492), antenatal 35.6% (175/492), 3–5 days postpartum 13.7% (51/370) and 3 months postnatal 13.0% (47/362). Most women with urinary incontinence experienced an impact on quality of life antenatally (54.3%) and postnatally (71.1%), although those experiencing an impact usually reported it as ‘a little’ (75.8 and 87.5%). There was a higher prevalence of urinary incontinence after forceps delivery (p<0.05) but not of greater impairment in quality of life (p>0.05). Personal and general health deteriorated postnatally (p<0.05). During pregnancy most women with urinary incontinence experience minimal impact on quality of life. Postnatally, other causes of morbidity may contribute to worsening of general and personal health.

Editorial Comment: This is a prospective cohort study that establishes the prevalence and effect of urinary incontinence on quality of life during pregnancy and after parturition in primigravid women. It covers new ground in its assessment of the effect on quality of life of urinary incontinence in this group of previously undescribed women. This research lays the foundation for further research into the combined effect of urinary incontinence and other co morbidities on the quality of life of pregnant women and recent parturients